Photography News issue 24

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Photography News Issue 24 absolutephoto.com

First tests

Accessories First tests We get our hands on the latest kit and share our first impressions – so you know whether or not to add it to your wish list

Specs

Prices SW150 Filter Holder Mark II £150, adapter rings £93.60, SW150 ND grad set comprising ND 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 £258, SW150 polariser £180, SW150 Big Stopper/Little Stopper £132, SW150 System adapter £48 SW150 adapter availability Canon 11-24mm, Canon 14mm, Nikon 14-24mm, Nikon 14mm, Samyang 14mm Sigma 12-24mm, Tokina 16-28mm Dimensions 11 elements in 8 groups Filter holder 163x146x39mm Adapter ring 120x25mm Graduate filters 150x170mm Polariser, Big and Little Stoppers 150x150mm Weight holder 213g Adapter (Nikon 14-24mm) 140g Contact leefilters.com

Reviews by Kingsley Singleton and Will Cheung

Lee Filters SW150Mark II holder £150, adapter £93

Lee is committed to providing fixing solutions for new optics

I tried the SW150 systemwith the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. To gather enough light to enable a constant f/2.8 aperture means this lens needs a large bulbous front element and the lens is fitted with a fixed vestigial lens hood. Using filters on this lens without a purpose-built holder just isn’t practical and even if you owned large enough filters you can’t hold a filter in place because you’ll suffer from reflections and flare. As each ultra wide-angle needs its own dedicated SW150 adapter, not every wide-angle lens is catered for. For example, an adapter for the Canon 11-24mm tested in this issue is not currently available. However, Lee is committed to providing fixing solutions for new optics as they become available. Lee has an excellent range of filters available for the SW150 system including a wide range of graduates, a circular polariser as well as the Big and Little Stoppers, so most needs are met. Out of the box, the adapter separates into three component rings which is perplexing to start with. Checking out the video tutorials on Lee’s website made things clear and makes you appreciate the neat design. Once on, you can leave the adapter in place. Lee supplies a neoprene cover to protect the lens front element and while leaving the adapter in place does bulk up the lens it saves you time when you’re out shooting. The filter holder and integral light shield slide onto the adapter and a locking screw holds it in position allowing for speedy orientation changes. The rubber light shield keeps out extraneous light so there is no risk of reflections or flare, and that makes the use of the Big Stopper possible. Owners of the Mark I holder

can buy the light shield separately. Because a tight seal is needed, sliding the Big Stopper into position, using the slot closest to the lens, means you may have to gently ease the light shield to enable this but that is a simple process. Just ensure the Stopper is correctly seated because any light leakage can ruin your shots. My Nikon has an eyepiece blind but that can still leak light in bright daylight and I often (unless it’s really windy) drape a small travel towel, held in place with clothes pegs or clips, over the camera too. The towel is big enough to cover the rear of the filter holder too so I tried that on some of my Big Stopper shots. However I didn’t suffer from any ill effects on my two minute Big Stopper shots in sunlight even without the towel. With two slots, it is no problem combining filters. Something you need to be aware of with the circular polariser is that it is a square-shaped filter and that canmean for themaximumpolarisation effect its orientationmight not suit the use of a graduate filter at the same time. To have a polariser in a circular rotating mount wide enough for the SW150 system would mean a very wide diameter and expensive filter. The size of the holder and filters does mean extra effort to lug the kit around, and that’s not helped by the usual bulky nature of fast-aperture ultra-wides. If you already use Lee’s 100mm system, a £48 adapter is available to use the SW150 holder on the smaller system’s adapter rings so that might save you some weight. Handling, though, is generally good, and it is certainly worth the effort to enjoy filter usage on ultra-wide lenses. WC

How it rates

Verdict If you want to use filters on your ultra wide-angle lenses, options are rather limited and Lee Filters offers a great, albeit pricey, solution. The system is well thought through especially the adapter system which offers an elegant and secure filter-holding solution with no vignetting or internal reflection issues.

Pros The system works brilliantly and very effectively, excellent

build quality too Cons Bulk, cost

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